"El Born" El Born Tip by gilescorey
El Born, Barcelona: 4 reviews and 7 photos
Favorite thing: The Born, also known as "El Borne" or "El Born" is a small, dense district wedged between Parc de la Ciutadella and Via Laietana.
This entire portion of the center city was once known as "La Ribera", "the shore", as the port once reached all the way to its edge. But, with the rising popularity of its southern blocks, realtors and residents alike began referring to the more gentrified area as "El Born" for the "Passeig de Born", a quaint, elegant paseo that defines the area.
When I first visited Barcelona in 2005, the area was definitely on the rise, but remained a largely overlooked artists' district. Nowadays, it's much the same as New York's SoHo or Boston's Newbury Street - it's very expensive and very chic. Yes, the bait shop remains, as does the occasional laundromat, but it's mostly inhabited by Tascón, Hugo Boss, El Ganso and a phalanx of Gelatarias.
And tourists, tourists, tourists.
That said, it has not reached the tipping point of the Barrí Gotíc. Yes there are a lot of rented bikes and pink faced people in fanny packs - but it is widely considered the best gastronomic district in the city and nights out you will hear Spanish or Catalan more than any other language. It's just as overrun by the locals when it comes time to entertain. And, as you move north towards Via Princesa, the crowds thin and the labyrinth of narrow streets brings you right back to medieval Barcelona in the span of only a few blocks.
Fondest memory: Weekend nights the Paseo practically explodes with activity. "Botellon"(outdoor drinking) is in great supply regardless of its prohibition, and the bars and lounges along the plaza fill with young singles. The stalwart "El Born" tavern with it's mini-attic attracts local businessmen by day and a varied crowd by night, giving it a bit more authenticity than its competitors.
Whereas the front plaza of Santa Maria del Mar is thronged with tourists, the alleyways winding towards "La Ribera" are more subdued. Indeed a few quaint spots on Banys Vells are usually desolate(Suaida, for instance) if you're looking for some peace and quiet.
Running up to Carrer de Carders you'll find a more local crowd and the Plaça Sant Cugat which offers fine outdoor terrazas and people watching.
C. Montcada is a clusterf*ck due to the many museums that line it. It's quaint, but frustrating, as well.
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